EHS Hall of Fame inducts three new members

Published 9:23 pm Monday, October 8, 2018

By Larry N. Souders
Elizabethton High School inducted three new members into it’s Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday evening.
The ceremony, held in the A. L. “John” Treadway Gym, saw Cara Bowling, John Hutchins and Dr. Justin Smith introduced as the Hall of Fame’s newest members.
Forrest Holt, Elizabethton’s current Athletic Director, was the master of ceremonies for the evening’s event. He opened the program by introducing 17 current members of the Hall of Fame. Following an invocation by Mike Karuschak, the Nation Anthem was performed by the Cyclone Ensemble Choir, and the school’s fight song was played by members of the Betsy Band as EHS cheerleaders encouraged the crowd to join in.
Elizabethton AD Holt’s introduced Cara Bowling as the evening’s first inductee. Bowling graduated in 2011. She played basketball both years she was at Elizabethton. During his introduction, Holt listed among her many accomplishments: playing in multiple district and regional tournaments, winning multiple MVP’s, being named Player of the Year twice and also being named Freshman of the Year in 2008. She was the first player to be named to the All-State team without having her team playing in the state tournament in 2011. She continued her career at East Tennessee State University where she also won many A-Sun Player of the Week awards.
Bowling said, “This is such a special moment, and I’m honored, grateful and humbled to be here today. I want to thank Elizabethton High School AD Holt for introducing me. I’d like to thank my family, my mom, my dad, my stepmom and my brother for being here with me today.
“I’d like to thank them for their constant love, guidance, and support throughout my entire athletic career and all my endeavors in life,” added Bowling. “Y’all are my strength, and my support and I would not be the person I am without you. I would also like to thank the entire Elizabethton faculty, staff and my teammates for being so welcoming to me when I transferred here prior to my junior year, you pushed me and challenged me and made me a better player.
“In closing, I would like to acknowledge undoubtedly one of the best individuals I have ever met in my entire life,” continued Bowling. “Thank you for sharing your wisdom, and your patience as I evolved as a player and as a person. Thank you for your uncanny ability of directing my focusing on being the best athlete that I could be. Thank you for constantly challenging me, for listening to me and for helping me achieve my lifelong goal of playing Division One basketball. Coach (Len) Dugger I am forever grateful for your help both on and off the court.”
Hall of Fame member, former co-athletic director, and head football coach Eddie Pless introduced the next inductee, John Hutchins. Hutchins is the current Elizabethton City Schools Athletic Director. Pless described Hutchins as a dear friend, and an athlete who had a gift and an ability to excel at many different sports.
Hutchins is a 1980 graduate who played football, baseball, basketball and tennis. During the 78-79 season, Hutchins lead the old Big 7 Conference in hitting with a .444 average, a 0.83 ERA as a pitcher going 4-1 during that season. He was all-conference, all Upper East Tennessee and an Honorable mention All-State player. He was “a great player on a great team.” He threw a near perfect game against Ketron High School before he walked two hitters to end the perfect game,  but he also picked off one of those hitters. He was close to perfection going 7-1 in the 79-80 season.
In his remarks, Hutchins thanked a number of his former coaches including, Coach Church, Dugger, White, Carver, Hathaway, Hyder and Coach Rider. But most of all he wanted to thank his idol, whom he said played football, baseball, basketball, and tennis just as he had. This person was a quarterback, a punter and a kicker just as he was.  “He took time to befriend this redheaded, freckled face boy and made him feel special,” said Hutchins. “I didn’t have to look to the NFL or the NBA. My idol was right here in this community. He has and continues to have a positive impact on my life. It isn’t often you get to be blessed to be in the same room as your idol, but tonight my idol blessed me by making my introduced. I want to thank you “Chick” for being a part of my world and being a good person and a good Christian role model and for being my good friend.”
Dr. Justin Smith, the evening’s final inductee, was introduced by his father Dr. Danny Smith. Both Danny and Justin serve as team trainers for Elizabethton High School and can be found on the sidelines of many if not all sporting events held by the school. Dr. Danny, who is also an Elizabethton Sports Hall of Fame member, described what an honor it was to not only introduce but also induct his son into the Hall of Fame. He described how Justin, at the age of three, would come to games with him and brought a ball and tee and started kicking it up and down the sidelines. He said he didn’t know at the time how this would lead up to Justin being a kicker for the Cyclones. He remarked about how Justin was a member of the T.A. Dugger first baseball and soccer teams. In high school, he was an all-conference kicker in football and an all-conference second baseman in baseball. He also played on four consecutive conference championship teams in football. The team had a regular season record of 32-8 and a playoff record 9-4. Justin was a walk-on kicker for ETSU for three years before leaving his final year to begin his education as a Physical Therapist.
Justin thanked his dad for introducing him, Preacher Mike, AD Holt and introduced his beautiful wife Carrie, saying, “I want you all to see how as a kicker I definitely out kicked my coverage.”
He then told a story about how he became a kicker for the Cyclones. Comparing how being a physical therapist was like being a kicker or a second baseman saying, “ Nobody wants to be my friend, because to be my friend means your coming into the clinic, your hurt, your injured or there’s something wrong with you. Being a second baseman, nobody wants to hang out with the second baseman because he’s like the right fielder of the infield, and as a kicker, I mean everybody hates kickers because you don’t do anything. So, my history as a kicker started the first week of practice, when everybody was trying to kick the ball through the uprights and nobody could. My buddy Adam Howell looked at our freshman coach and said ‘Justin played soccer, let him kick one.’ So I kicked one. An extra point is only 20 yards.  I kicked it straight, and I hit the crossbar, and that’s how I became the kicker”
Elizabethton AD Holt, at the end of the ceremony, commented on how all three said about how important it was to have had great coaches, a great school and a great community behind them that pushed them to do the things they did. That they are all part of the great Cyclone tradition of excellence.

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